Director: Daisy Evans
Reviewer: Hannah Powell
Disney and theatre fans alike have begun to flock to The Vaults to catch a glimpse of their latest immersive creation; Sounds & Sorcery: Celebrating Fantasia. An event that promises to be a “completely immersive sound and visual extravaganza” allowing you to create your own path through the underground tunnels. Using cutting-edge binaural sound, audio recordings, 3D projection and light installations they attempt to bring the music of Disney’s Fantasia to life for everyone to enjoy.
Each room is specially constructed to transport the audience into the world of Fantasia, from giant volcanoes to magical gardens, dancing animals to out of control buckets and mops, you name it and they’ve attempted to cram it all in. Though there is no Mickey Mouse to be seen, there’s certainly a Disney ambiance to the space, which immediately evokes nostalgia.
The amount of technical expertise for this event must be commended as the lighting and sound design really does make the entire thing, transforming the space into a magical playground for both children and adults alike to marvel at and enjoy. However, the event itself is confusing as it isn’t clear to what it actually is. There are ‘immersive’ rooms holding fantastically designed landscapes and amazing lighting displays yet there are also timed live performances every twenty minutes or so, and an exhibition of items clumsily placed at the end which don’t appear to be clearly connected to the event itself. Is it an immersive event? Is it a performance? Is it an exhibition? Or maybe a light and sound showcase?
My biggest issue is the blank corridor within the centre of the event, they appear to have gone to such extents to design these fantastical rooms, yet that magic is immediately lost as one must wait in this corridor to be allowed into the next room. There seems to be a lack of fluidity which removes the immersive feeling, one would hope to be able to pop between rooms to their hearts content lost within this 3D world of play, yet the timings and perhaps the space, do not appear to allow you to do so. The actors and crew have worked and continue to work incredibly hard to construct these truly magical and wonderful spaces, it seems a shame for the layout to counteract this.
Apart from slight technical issues with the headphones at times, as one would expect with an event this size, the premise itself is incredibly intriguing. With more time and some polishing this event could be truly spectacular, however for the hype it has received thus far, one is not sure it entirely lives up to it.
Runs until 30 September 2018 | Image: Hanson Letherby